Call: “Methodology of gaming simulation for learning, research and design” – ISAGA Workshop

Special workshop “Methodology of gaming simulation for learning, research and design”

You are cordially invited to a workshop on Methodology of gaming simulation for learning, research and design at the 44th conference of the International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA). The ISAGA 2013 conference will take place June 24 – 28, 2013, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden.

The aim of the conference is to contribute to the methodological advancements in the gaming simulation domain. The conference will be organized along three pillars called the Science, Craft and Art of gaming simulation. For the workshop we refer to cultural anthropologist Barth (2002) who distinguished three interrelated faces of knowledge (cf. Klabbers, J., 2009, The Magic Circle: Principles of Gaming & Simulation. 3rd and revised edition, p. 87‐88):

  • A social organization; (building a social organization is a ‘craft’)
  • A substantive corpus of assertions; (investigating the validity and realism of assertions is a ‘science’)
  • A range of media of representation; (creating all sorts of media of representation is art, craft, and science)

A social organization is a collective network of people who build and maintain mutual relationships. In gaming terminology these are interacting actors jointly playing roles, following and creating rules and using available resources.

Assertions convey how people connect objects and actions to explain events, and processes. These explanations may have a mythical or a rational connotation. In games as abstract representations and models of reality the related “causal” inferences usually are expressed in terms of behavioral (descriptive) or normative (prescriptive) rules, and codes of conduct.

In cultures, the media of representation range from signs, symbols that are being used during consecrations, holy dances, sacral contests ‐ all part of a festival or mythical ritual ‐ to mathematical knowledge used for computations, to images in gross anatomy atlases, technical laboratory equipment for microbiological experiments, chemical models, geography atlases and scale models, and so on. These representations shape both thought and action and thus the practices of the people involved.

In gaming ‐ especially in digital games ‐ these media of representation are flourishing in a great variety of forms of exotic interfaces mirroring all sorts of magic, virtual and real worlds. In the more traditional field of gaming we use board games, role playing games, computer supported games and so on, as media of representation.

These three faces of knowledge interrelate in particular ways in different knowledge traditions (cultures), and they generate tradition‐specific criteria for validity of knowledge‐about‐the‐world. Games mirror certain knowledge traditions. Games are social organizations and they relate to assertions about various aspects of the represented reference systems. Games are and use different media of communication and representation. Game designers, facilitators and players consciously and unconsciously select, communicate and deal with the underlying knowledge traditions. Through game design, and using games for research or learning we (re)construct social organizations, sets of assertions and media of representation. Through gaming we create new understanding and enhance our scope of action for changing existing social systems into more preferred ones.

We invite you to submit a paper to our workshop and to elaborate the linkages between these three interrelated faces of knowledge, and the way they mirror various reference systems, and what rules of correspondence between them apply. These understandings may help improve gaming for professional practice, learning, research, and design. The format for abstracts and the possibility to upload your contribution can be found at

Submission Deadline for this particular track is 15 February 2013. For further information, please contact the workshop organizers.

Jan Klabbers
Willy Kriz

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